Tag Archives: God’s grace

Reclaimed, Redeemed, Reworked… In the Potter’s Hands

23 Mar

 

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“And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.” Jeremiah 18:4

Our one day Women’s retreat was an informative day of fun and fellowship centered around God’s great grace. As He did over and over with the nation of Judah, so He does with us—extending undeserved grace after we continuously fall short; repeating patterns of disobedience and sinful behavior. He offers us…

Please click here to continue reading Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Reclaimed, Redeemed, Reworked… In the Potter’s Hands.

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Body Image and the Gospel | Find Your True Beauty in Christ

11 Oct

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“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

For you my sisters; the girl pushing food around the plate so no one will realize you aren’t eating, and for you, the woman secretly bingeing, hoping the ‘full’ will fill the emptiness, I have been there right where you are. I have stood in front of the mirror not seeing the protruding bones outlined in sharp relief—seeing only ‘skinny’ instead of ‘starving’ or in dark colored clothing designed to camouflage the extra weight, lumps, and bumps—the fleshy flaws. I have been the yo-yo master, up and down the scale, numbers taunting or applauding.

According to Womenshealth.gov I have not struggled alone as it is estimated as many as 10 million women nationwide suffer from some type of eating disorder. Fat shaming body police speculate…

Please click here to read the remainder of the article and for additional resources: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Body Image and the Gospel | Find Your True Beauty in Christ.

True Grit, Perseverance, and the Joy of the Lord

16 Aug

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“…for the joy of the LORD is your strength” Nehemiah 8:10

Charles Spurgeon described the joy of the Lord as, “…a joy of divine origin…a source of strength to  all who partake…” This joy springs supernaturally from God Himself radiating outward to us as we contemplate all He is, has done, will be. 

“All these attributes of my God are mine: his power, my protection; his wisdom, my guidance; his faithfulness, my foundation; his grace, my salvation” Charles Spurgeon

This delight in His character, His salvation, His abundant grace, promises, and providence stems from a heart tuned to the Lord — filled with His very presence; the indwelling Holy Spirit. Joy is our reaction to abiding in Christ, our expression fellowship with our Savior.It is this joy — the joy of the Lord — that…

Please click here to continue reading: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > True Grit, Perseverance, and the Joy of the Lord.

Filled With Awestruck Wonder

9 Aug

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“And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today” ―Luke 5:26

Responding with awestruck wonder after observing first, a paralyzed man being lowered from the ceiling into the midst of Jesus and next, that same man, rising healed from the bed at Jesus’ insistence, the crowd acknowledged they had seen something completely out of the ordinary! We may not stand spectator to that kind of miraculous healing in the every day but…

Please continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Filled With Awestruck Wonder.

Finding Calm in the Storm

20 Jun

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Finding Calm in the Storm by Marci Lopez

Do you ever get motion sick? I do. When Pastor Bob talks about motion sickness in a sermon, I relate. Travel in general is tough for me no matter the conveyance –car, plane, boat, amusement park ride –the rockier the motion the more ill I feel and the greater the suffering. This is true during times of turmoil as well. When the ebb and flow of every day turns into a tumultuous toss and turn like angry seas during a storm, that’s when I feel an anxious sick, a disequilibrium where a foothold is not easily gained.It is during those times…

Finish reading here:  Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Finding Calm in the Storm.

When Father’s Day Hurts

14 Jun

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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” —1 Corinthians 1:3-4

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, a day traditionally set aside to honor fathers, husbands, uncles, sons, step dads and grandpas. Many of us have been blessed with fathers who reflected Christ to us; image bearers speaking into our lives. We go all out for these dads in our family; showering them with gifts, affirmation, and affection. 

For some of us this is not the reality. There may be unseen hurts and scars inextricably linked to burdens carried; heart holes filled with…

Continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > When Father’s Day Hurts.

Servanthood: A Lost Art?

31 May

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 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

Have we lost the art of servanthood? Have we allowed the world to twist, pull, corrupt, and change the definition of a word originally intended to mean a demonstration; a beautiful outpouring of our love for each other expressed as a devoted waiting upon? Have we forgotten who it is we ultimately serve; who our master is or are we weighted down under personal feelings and columns filled with tallies of perceived slights and offenses that allow the muddied messy church to obscure the true freedom of othercentered serving?Servanthood is not synonymous with slavery. We are as liberated as one dwelling on this cursed earth can be. We have been ransomed, a blood price was paid, and we are no longer living in bondage; no longer in chains. Our Savior, the ultimate servant Mark 10:45, poured out His grace as He hung on that tree along with abundant faith and love 1 Timothy 1:14 that we might glorify God through selfless service to others in an expression of deep love and shared grace.

Please read the remainder of the article at:  Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Servanthood: A Lost Art?.

This Mother’s Day | What is the Goal of Motherhood?

10 May

norman prayer_opt“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b

On this Mother’s Day we celebrate all women; mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and pray whatever season of life you are in and whatever unique burdens you shoulder, you are counting all as joy (James 1:2)!

We are often tempted to observe what transpires in other families on celebratory holidays, measuring ourselves by how the cards, gifts, and acknowledgements we receive compare. We tie our expectations to tangible wordly goods, believing the enemy who taunts us with feelings of inadequacy. We forget there is no one-size-fits-all ideal mom and the bar we set for ourselves is too often unnattainably high. We allow mistakes and shortcomings to consume us instead of focusing on the new mercies and clean slate offered through our gracious and loving Savior— Jesus Christ every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

He is our gift received, along with renewed strength, daily. One who removes self criticism, comparisons, failures, regret, and mommy guilt, covering them in His own blood; replacing the joy thieves with strength and endurance — reminding us there is joy in this imperfect journey and that it’s not about us — it’s about holiness; growing in the image of Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

The following article offers up some thoughts and ideas about shifting our way of thinking about the goals of motherhood:

 

What is the Goal of Motherhood? Excerpt By Gloria Furman

Motherhood is a piece of evidence of God’s triumphant agenda to give life despite the curse of death. It is a gift that points us to Jesus. As life marches on to the praise of God’s glory, we see a riveting display of the grace of our Father, who will fulfill His promise to give His Son an inheritance of nations to the praise of His glory. There’s no greater goal than that.

Read the article in its entirety here: What is the Goal of Motherhood | True Woman

Further reading:
This Mother’s Day Don’t Worry | The Gospel Coalition
How to Find the “Happy” in Happy Mother’s Day | Girl Talk Home

Chocolate, God’s Grace and the Drama of Scripture

29 Mar

iphone 037_opt“So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” Ephesians 1:6 (NLT)

Recently 24 women from Taft headed up to Big Bear in the San Bernardino mountains for a women’s retreat weekend of worship, connection, and fellowship. Using meaningful activites and devotions designed to celebrate the richness of God’s blessing and His extravagant grace, those present were afforded the opportunity to unpack God’s grace while resting at the feet of Jesus.

Sessions focused on the following:

  1. The first miracle of Jesus (John 2:1-11) where the glory of Christ is revealed and a fullness of grace is shown.
  2. The lowering of a paralyzed man through the roof to Jesus (Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26, and Matthew 9:2-8) where undeserved grace is experienced through healing.
  3. Extending grace to others in need in the form of a gift from the heart.
  4. The strength of offering grace in tough circumstances (Luke 22:47-51 and John 18:10-11) and receiving the ultimate outpouring of grace (Romans 5:6-8).
  5. Quiet prayer and contemplation in the presence of the Lord.
  6. Grace poured out on the cross; Jesus death, burial, and resurrection.

This was a wonderful experience for the women involved to get to know each other on a deeper more personal level while spending time with the Lord exploring our place in God’s story.

For those of you who attended and loved Michaele’s cooking or those who want to try something new, click here for a delicious lasagna soup recipe.

Additional photos and info here: Taft avenue Community Church | Women’s Ministries

Five Truths About Christian Suffering

8 Mar

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“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” –Romans 5:3-4

God is the author of His story – our story and no chapter is without purpose. The story is not one of isolation for there on every page is the presence of the one true living God revealed. When the words of our story are thick, inky black, tear stained, strokes of pain, grief, or suffering God is near sharing in our ache (Psalm 34:18). When we struggle to muster the strength to begin the next page He is there relieving our burdens (Matthew 11:28).

“God does not willingly bring affliction or grief to us. He does not delight in causing us to experience pain or heartache. He always has a purpose for the grief He brings or allows to come into our lives. Most often we do not know what that purpose is, but it is enough to know that His infinite wisdom and perfect love have determined that the particular sorrow is best for us. God never wastes pain. He always uses it to accomplish His purpose. And His purpose is for His glory and our good. Therefore, we can trust Him when our hearts are aching or our bodies are racked with pain.” –Jerry Bridges, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts

God is the sovereign author of the universe; the chief character in our narrative glorified in our weakness. His great love for us is most visible in the suffering and excruciating death of His son–the Word made flesh–Jesus Christ bearing our sins on the cross. Ransomed by His blood, the richness of God’s abundant grace is evident and overflowing. It is here at the foot of the cross our sorrows can be exchanged for indescribable inexpressible soul filling joy and the hope found in Christ alone. Our book will not close with “the end.” Our story will continue to unfold and new pages will be written for our hope is in Heaven.

Five Truths About Christian Suffering by Joseph Scheumann

All Christians suffer. Either you have, you are, or you will — “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

This reality is a stark reminder that we have not reached the new heavens and new earth. The new Jerusalem of no tears and no pain, of no mourning and no death, hasn’t arrived yet (Revelation 21:1, 4).

But just because we experience suffering as we await the redemption of our bodies, it doesn’t mean that our suffering is random or without purpose. And neither does it mean that Scripture doesn’t tell us how to think about our suffering now.

Here are five important biblical truths about suffering every Christian should have ready:

Finish the article here: Five Truths About Christian Suffering | Desiring God.

 

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